Policy, Theory, and Evaluation: Stop Mixing the Fruit Salad; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

1 Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation (CHETRE), University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2 South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

3 Ingham Institute, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

Abstract

The study of Health in All Policies (HiAP) is gaining momentum. Authors are increasingly turning to wide swathes of political and social theory to frame (Program) Theory Based (or Informed) Evaluation (TBE) approaches. TBE for HiAP is not only prudent, it adds a level of elegance and insight to the research toolbox. However, it is still necessary to organize theoretical thinking appropriately. A commentary on a recent Int J Health Policy Manag paper argued that the framing of context and causality were hard to establish. This paper argues that this is not the most pressing issue. Rather, it claims we need to go back to basics to establish an appropriate HiAP evaluation paradigm. Such a basic paradigm would hinge on an understanding of power.

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